MANILA— The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday criticized those who got booster shots after full vaccination against COVID-19, even as millions remain unvaccinated because of limited supply.
This followed an ABS-CBN News report on Thursday on the double vaccination scheme posted by a man on his social media account after he was supposedly fully vaccinated by Sinovac in Mandaluyong last May and got another shot of Moderna this week in Quezon City.
He said he got "boostered" and thanked the people who helped him achieve the feat.
Local authorities have confirmed his vaccine records and have launched an investigation on the incident, with the QC government vowing possible legal action.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said this could not be called a "booster" yet because the government has not approved the additional inoculation of fully vaccinated individuals to bolster COVID-19 immunity.
The health department will reach out to the person to monitor possible side effects, she said.
"We are trying to get the details of this. We saw this on a social media platform. Kinakausap po natin ang vaccination center," Vergeire said in a public briefing.
(We are already reaching out to the vaccination center)
"Wala naman po tayo talagang legal na sanction for these individuals who are receiving these double vaccines... Pero sana naiisip natin na it's more of [morally] unethical," she added.
(We do not have any legal sanctions yet for these people but I hope they are thinking that this is morally unethical)
The development came as the country still struggles to get hold of steady COVID-19 vaccine supply, with millions of Filipinos yet to get their first doses.
"Kung ano man po ang binakuna sa inyo, mayroon pong mga tao na hindi nabakunahan dahil sa inyo. Lagi niyo pong iisipin 'yun, na ang pakikipagkapwa tao lalong-lalo na ngayon sa panahon ng pandemya ay napaka-importante po," Vergeire said.
(Whatever vaccines you received, you are depriving another person who could have received it. There are people who did not receive their vaccines because of you. Being compassionate during the pandemic is very important.)
The health official added that booster shots are still prohibited in the country for the lack of data available, as well as its safety validity so far, according to the country's experts.
She urged other people who had double vaccinations to monitor side effects, and go to the nearest inoculation site should something happen to them.
"Hindi pa po kumpleto ang datos ukol diyan, hindi pa po kumpleto ang mga ebidensya na mayroon tayo sa ating mga eksperto kaya hindi pa po 'yan nire-recommend ng ating gobyerno."
(Data on booster shots is still lacking. Our experts have yet to recommend it too, so the government has yet to approve its use)
Earlier in the day, Metro Manila mayors approved a unified certificate for fully vaccinated individuals.
Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan II said his office, together with the Department of Health, was working on the “VaxCertPH,” which would be issued to fully-vaccinated people.